First name: Lillian
What does it mean to be American?
Growing up as a Korean American, I have always seen the “American” portion of my identity as a simple explanation to others stating that I was born in the USA. It was not until my twenties that I started realizing there were certain characteristics of myself that I categorized as the “American” side of me. Naturally, I am an introvert, shy, and do not like the lime light very much–traits that are stereotypically categorized as Asian. While I am naturally quiet, I am quite active and vocal when it comes to certain things that I am very passionate about in life–the American side of me. For example, when I became very active in fighting to relocate North Korean refugees, there were a lot of adults that were concerned for my safety and told me to stop and just “stay quiet.” Asians are always the “model Americans,” because we are taught to keep our heads down, blend, not cause attention, and just focus on ourselves. I guess to me, being American is about standing up for others, fighting for our beliefs, and trying to lend a helping hand when we can; using our privileges to help others that are not as privileged as us or in need of help.
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